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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

CFPB: 54 percent increase in consumer complaints from 2019

Federal Issues CFPB Consumer Complaints Covid-19

Federal Issues

On March 24, the CFPB published its Consumer Response Annual Report for 2020, providing a review of the Bureau’s complaint process and a description of complaints received from consumers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia between January 1 and December 31, 2020. According to the report, the Bureau handled approximately 542,300 consumer complaints—an almost 54 percent increase from 2019. Of these complaints, the Bureau noted that roughly 32,100 complaints referenced the Covid-19 pandemic or related keywords, but emphasized that complaints that did not include Covid-19 as a keyword were not necessarily an indication that the complaint was not related to the financial impact of the pandemic. Additionally, roughly 84 percent of the complaints were submitted to companies for review and response, nine percent were referred to other regulatory agencies, and seven percent were determined to be incomplete. Report data showed that more than 3,300 companies responded to complaints received by the Bureau, with roughly 11,100 complaints receiving administrative responses. In addition, as of February 1, 2021, approximately 3,900 complaints were still being reviewed by companies, the report stated. The top products and services—representing approximately 92 percent of all complaints—were credit or consumer reporting, debt collection, credit cards, checking or savings accounts, and mortgages. The Bureau also received complaints related to: (i) money transfers and virtual currency; (ii) vehicle finance; (iii) prepaid cards; (iv) student, personal, and payday loans; (v) credit repair; and (vi) title loans. The CFPB also reported that 89 percent of consumers who submitted complaints indicated that they first tried to resolve their issues with the companies.

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